Letter to the Editor: What local superintendents want from the state

Dear Editor:
This is an open letter from the Colorado state school superintendents requesting adequate school funding from the Colorado State Legislature.

As Colorado school district superintendents, we are proud to serve as educational leaders in our communities that deeply value Colorado’s public schools. We have both a professional and moral commitment to deliver on the promise of an effective education for each and every child in our state through an excellent public school system. In order to deliver on this promise to our children, Colorado schools must receive stable and adequate funding.
We are appreciative of the efforts over the last two years restoring a small portion of the $5.12 billion withheld from Colorado’s schools since 2010 via the negative factor; however, this debt owed to Colorado schools has continued long enough.We hold firmly to the belief that voters’ intent in passing Amendment 23 was for schools to realize year-over-year funding increases of at least inflation plus student growth, and this intent needs to be reflected in the state’s FY 2016-17 budget and supported by all legislation considered by the 2016 General Assembly. During the 2016 legislative session, we specifically advocate for the General Assembly to:
1. Uphold the intent of the General Assembly, detailed in SB 15-267, and not reduce state appropriations for the 2015-2016 School Finance Act as a result of increases in state-wide assessed property values and consideration of other factors including economic forecast and state-wide enrollment changes.
2. Support a supplemental appropriation for 2015-2016 if necessary to ensure per-pupil funding is not reduced as a result of enrollment growth or the number of at-risk pupils enrolled.
3. Avoid increasing the negative factor in FY 2016-17.
4. Increase total program funding in FY 2016-17 by the rate of inflation and additional amounts necessary to account for increases in pupil enrollment and the number of at-risk students enrolled.
Furthermore, we strongly support the reclassification of the Hospital Provider Fee to an enterprise fund during the 2016 legislative session as a short-term measure to provide additional funding for Colorado’s schools. We also encourage policy makers to identify additional short and long-term strategies to achieve adequate funding for all schools.
The time has come for Colorado’s elected representatives to provide strong leadership and restore Colorado’s reputation as a state where public schools are highly valued and stable and adequate funding are top priorities.
We stand ready to work in partnership with Colorado’s policy makers to find new solutions to the challenges ahead so every Colorado student receives the education they deserve.
Chris Selle
Superintendent of Schools
Matthew Scoggins
Superintendent of Schools
163 other Colorado
Superintendents of Schools